Women professionals and the way they should take care of themselves
Being good at what you do – I believe that there is no substitute for the professional expertise, commitment, and rigor, and this is not gendered specific. The quiet satisfaction of a job done well is a special, lasting feeling. Professional excellence is a life-long pursuit and passion
Over the years of my life as a ‘woman professional’, 32 now to be precise, one has learned, thought and been taught, sometimes by serendipity and at other times by rude shock, the way to navigate the professional world. On the one hand, it is a privilege and a dream come true, since when growing up in the 70s, we, the teenage girls, still felt the need to prove that we were equal to men. On the other, it has also been a realization of, and respect for, what men dealt with as they navigated their way around the world, at a time when it was their sole responsibility to put food on the table for their families.
I do believe that the way we, women professionals, take care of ourselves, is intertwined with the way we conduct ourselves in professional and personal spaces. Some of the things that help are:
Being good at what you do – I believe that there is no substitute for the professional expertise, commitment, and rigor, and this is not gendered specific. The quiet satisfaction of a job done well is a special, lasting feeling. Professional excellence is a life-long pursuit and passion.
Keeping things simple – Be it communication, one’s environment or clothing, I believe cutting out the clutter makes from your life makes it simpler. In communication, if you say what you mean and vice versa, you aren’t expending energy on mental calisthenics and but instead on fruitful activity. Cutting clutter from the environment is calming. The dictum that I follow for clothing is that it while it should be comfortable, something that I like, which is cotton and Tussar sarees, it should also be easy to put together, and not become a big distraction either to put together or from my work and message.
Avoiding an emotional response – Communication in the work environment can be a complex process of verbal and nonverbal messages. Keeping the work environment civil and respectful of all, even when an unpleasant point has to be expressed, is vital. The serenity prayer can be a guiding principle, “God, grant me the courage to change the things I can, serenity to accept the things I cannot, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Stand up for your opinion - Sometimes, it is a part of our sub-conscious that we take on a caring role, and defer to the views of others. It is important to ‘hear’ what your co-workers are saying and yet, also important to give yourself a ‘hearing’ and then give your own point of view due to regard. It is important not to be reticent about what you believe is important, but without being shrill. This may also mean a promotion; if you think you deserve it, make a case and ask for it.
Building a team you can trust and delegate to and ensure that they are in sync with your philosophy. Delegation with supervision helps your team to grow professionally while opening up time and mental space for your own professional growth.
A network of friends and family helps to keep you grounded, cared for and caring. The family is our core strength and our most important relationship. Marriage is where we are our true selves and this relationship has to be nurtured on the bedrock of honesty and caring. The extended family is your circle of warmth and love and it is important to take out time for them. Friends are people you can be a carefree adolescent with and are to be cherished. Build a home that is a strife-free sanctuary, a place that you love to come back to.
Have a hobby to engage and satisfy your creative urge and give your mind a respite from navigating the world. Taking out time for a ‘giving pursuit’ is deeply satisfying.
Time for yourself – Separate from your professional commitments and family related activities, some time to dwell on your thoughts and smell the flowers.
And, finally to think of life and the opportunity to be a woman professional as a gift.